Friday, July 31, 2009

NOW Outraged at House Vote on Abortion Coverage -- Women's Rights Traded Away

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Outraged at House Vote on Abortion Coverage -- Women's Rights Traded Away
July 31, 2009
NOW is outraged to learn that the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed an amendment excluding abortion services from the "essential" health benefits package as defined by the government. Under this amendment, subsidies used to help pay insurance premiums for low-income people could not be used for abortion services. The New York Times reports that "insurers must use money from private sources to pay for any abortions."
"Reproductive health care is a fundamental right. Any health care plan that does not cover the full range of reproductive services, including abortion, discriminates against women," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "Once again, our representatives are giving in to the right wing by trading away women's rights. Well, I have a message for them, our reproductive rights are not theirs to give away."
O'Neill noted that a majority of voters support coverage for abortion services, with only about a quarter opposed to using tax dollars to pay for abortion. In addition, a recent study found that most people in the U.S. with employer-based insurance currently have coverage for abortion. "Don't low-income people deserve the same level of coverage as other people in this country?" asked O'Neill. "Our lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating class-based and gender-based biases as they attempt to 'reform' our broken health care system." 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Funny Yet Smart Feminist Sitcom Idea

I just watched this, and LOVE it!

Blogulator - Sitcom Idea # 2
Sean from the Pop Culture Blogulator presents another idea for a hit sitcom. Enjoy.

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Single-Payer Health Care Would Benefit Women, Promote Equality and Justice for All

NOW logo

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

Single-Payer Health Care Would Benefit Women
Promote Equality and Justice for All

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
July 30, 2009
Health care is a fundamental human right, and ensuring access to quality, affordable and comprehensive health care within the United States is a moral imperative confronting our legislators today. Since 1993, the National Organization for Women has been a leader in the campaign for single-payer health care in the U.S. It is, as President Obama noted last week, the only way to ensure coverage for everyone.
Single-payer health care is particularly important for women. Women bear the brunt of this nation's broken health care system, and it's coming at us from multiple directions. Women are disproportionately under-insured in the U.S. because we tend to be clustered in part-time, non-union and other jobs that do not provide health care. When we do seek coverage on the open market, we are often charged more than men, even while many of us are denied maternity care. And because statistics show that women remain paid between 78 and 58 cents on the dollar compared to men, even those of us who are fortunate enough to receive employer-sponsored insurance are less likely to be able to pay premiums.
Moreover, the burden of caring for the sick has increasingly shifted from health care professionals to family caregivers. As insurance companies force hospitals to turn out patients shortly after major surgery, patients are sent home to be cared for by unpaid family members, predominantly women.
The best way to correct these problems is to enact single-payer health care, covering all women regardless of their employment status, immigration status or ability to pay. And while covering everyone, single-payer health care would also be significantly more cost-effective than the system we have now, because removing the profit-seeking insurance companies from the equation eliminates a huge portion of health care costs.
Despite what some of our elected officials might think, any public plan must cover all reproductive health services. Women have a right to full access to the complete range of reproductive health care services. This includes HIV/STD testing, maternity care, pre- and post-natal care, contraception and abortion. The greed and dominance of the private health insurance industry is both a symptom of and a major contributor to the massive inequality that is entrenched in our society. Single-payer health care promotes health and economic justice for all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Action Alert: Urge Representatives Today to Support Single-Payer!

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NOW Action Alert

Support NOW's Work | July 28, 2009 | Tell a Friend

Action Needed


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More about Health

Urge House Members Today to Support Single-Payer

The House of Representative may vote this week on its bill (America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3200) to reform our dysfunctional health care system. Act NOW to keep state single-payer options in this important piece of health care reform legislation!

Tell your representatives to support single-payer health care
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Action Needed:

Thanks to your recent calls, this important amendment was adopted in committee. Now the challenge is to keep it in the larger House health care reform bill, H.R. 3200, when it goes to a floor vote. Your calls and emails to House members are critical to support retention of a state single-payer option in health care reform legislation, so take action now!


On July 17, the Education and Labor Committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, (D-Ohio) to H.R. 3200 that would allow states to pass and implement single-payer plans. The amendment provides for automatic waivers from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which might otherwise prevent states from enacting single-payer plans.

This was a huge victory for single-payer but if we are to build on this victory, we must act now. The Kucinich amendment must be retained in the final version of the House bill, H.R. 3200, and perhaps made even stronger. There is no time to waste. Pressure is needed directly on those members who have the ability to act in support of the amendment's retention.

The National Organization for Women adopted a resolution in 1993 that supports a single-payer type approach (Medicare for all) as the best way to control costs and cover everyone. Women, especially, will benefit from a single-payer system because all medically-necessary services are covered and the single-payer system's approach is the only way to bring costs under control. No up-front deductibles would be required and no exclusions for reproductive health care services would be allowed.

Further news: An amendment to be offered by Rep. Anthony Weiner in committee that would establish a national single-payer system (H.R. 676) may take place before the floor vote, though we are not sure when and if this may come up. Insiders believe that the national single-payer plan has little chance of being adopted in a floor vote. However, if action in the House speeds up this week before August recess, we do want to make sure the state single-payer option is retained.

As we celebrate Medicare's 44th Anniversary on Thursday, July 30, join us in taking action to support single-payer as the way to provide health care for all and promote economic justice in our nation.

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Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Action Alert: Support the Equal Rights Amendment

Support the ERA NOW!
Dear Feminist,
Help us get the ERA passed for once and for all!
Hard to believe, isn't it? After all the achievements of the women's movement, we're still missing one essential piece: a constitutional amendment guaranteeing basic equality for women.
I was thrilled to be taking office as president of the National Organization for Women on the same day that Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced, once again, a new constitutional equality amendment. One of my first acts as president was to speak at a rally in support of Representative Maloney's bill on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.
Join me as we recommit ourselves to the task of putting women in the Constitution.
And with your help, we can get it done.
Is an ERA still necessary? Absolutely!
Until we have equality under the law guaranteed by our constitution, we will continue the frustrating dance of two steps forward and one step back. Congress and state legislatures are free to strip away our hard-won rights with any shift in the political tide.
Why is this different from all the other times that our faithful supporters in Congress have re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment?
There's a groundswell in favor of equality for women, and we now have the serendipitous combination of a White House and a Congress more favorable to women's rights than we've seen in recent years.
Make a pledge of monthly support for this arduous campaign. I know that these are tough times, but even a small monthly gift adds up.
If you are unable to commit to monthly support, your one-time gift in any amount will be deeply appreciated and put to work immediately.
This is our time. Let's seize this exciting moment. I look forward to hearing from you.
For equality,

Terry O'Neill


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Action Alert: Urge Governor Paterson to Sign the Anti-Shackling Bill NOW!

Thanks to Marcia Pappas, NOW-NYS president, for researching this and sending us the info.
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Action Alert -- Urge Governor Paterson to Sign the Anti-Shackling Bill NOW!
Urge Governor Paterson to Sign the Anti-Shackling Bill NOW!

Call or Email Governor Paterson. Urge him to Sign S.1290-A.3373-A
Shackling Women Prisoners in Labor is not Acceptable Practice
We have just heard from our coalition partners that the Anti-Shackling Bill is on the Governor's desk, ready to be signed.
He needs to hear from you!
This is a critical time to voice your support of the Anti-Shackling Bill S.1290-A/A.3373-A which prevents incarcerated women in labor from being shackled. The Governor is delaying action on the bill so that he has "more time to hear from the advocates" and opponents who are unrealistically claiming that incarcerated women in labor are a flight risk, posing risk of escape.
We need to make sure the Governor learns the truth and understands there is widespread public support for this bill.
If you want to call the Governor, at 518-474-8390, we have provided talking points in a letter. Click on Take Action link above to see talking points.
You can also send email the Governor by clicking on the Take Action link above.
Talking points have been provided to us by the Women in Prison Project, July 2009.
Summary of bill:
The Anti-Shackling Bill, S.1290-A/A.3373-A, forbids the use of restraints on incarcerated women during labor and post-delivery recovery, and restricts the use of restraints during transport to and from the hospital. This bill, sponsored by Assemblymember N. Nick Perry and Senator Velmanette Montgomery, passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Greetings from Terry O'Neill, Your New NOW President

The National Organization for Women

I am honored and humbled to begin serving you as president of the National Organization for Women with my sister officers, Bonnie Grabenhofer (Executive Vice President), Erin Matson (Action Vice President) and Allendra Letsome (Membership Vice President), on this first day of our term. We take our charge seriously: We are here to serve you, the grassroots arm of the women's movement.
I share your vision of full equality and justice for all women and girls, and I pledge to modernize the women's movement by tapping into the energy around the country and bringing more women to the sidewalks, statehouses and in-person and online forums where feminist dreams become reality. I will work tirelessly to strengthen the grassroots, collaborating with you every step of the way.
I will support, empower and amplify the change you're leading in your own community. I will also lead cutting-edge national action campaigns to demand the equality we deserve. Up immediately on the docket are campaigns to:
  • Build the feminist case for single-payer health care, including coverage for the full range of women's reproductive services, so that every woman and girl, no matter her race or immigration status, has access to the health care that is her human right
  • Achieve equal marriage and full lesbian and queer rights nationwide, implementing a state-by-state, community-by-community strategy alongside national efforts to immediately repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) without the addition of harmful reservations, understandings and declarations (RUDs)
I am committed to not just implementing, but also building, these campaigns with your input, expertise and vision for justice. Soon I will reach out with my team to tap your ideas and solicit your feedback. We are putting together new ways to communicate and connect with you, because we believe in the power of NOW, we believe in the power of you and we know your voice gives feminism the power to achieve full equality for every woman and girl!
In sisterhood,
Terry O'Neill
President, National Organization for Women

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

NYC Council restored $27 million in funding to CUNY

Another reason we want Speaker Christine C. Quinn re-elected. I received the following letter from her.

Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:47:04 AM
Subject: NYC Council

July 21, 2009

Dear M. Alam,

Good news! Backed by you and thousands of other students, faculty and staff across the five boroughs, the New York City Council successfully restored roughly $27 million in funding to the City University of New York (CUNY) in this year's budget.

I would like to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone, especially my colleagues Council Members Charles Barron and Peter Vallone Jr., who campaigned so vigorously on behalf of CUNY and its students.

Thanks to this amazing outpouring of support, we were able to restore a significant portion of the budget cuts that were originally planned for CUNY's six community colleges in this year's budget.

We also added $2.75 million in funding to the Peter Vallone Scholarship. This, along with the $6.75 in baseline funding for the scholarship that we successfully fought to include in the budget year after year, will bring the total level of funding for this program up to $9.5 million.

And we fully restored funding for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies ($470,000), the Dominican Studies Institute ($470,000) and the Murphy Institute Center for Worker Education ($250,000), keeping these widely-used resources open and available to all students.

The Council and I realize more than ever how important it is for us to invest in CUNY and the programs and services that students need.

While we did a really good job rallying together to protect funding for CUNY in this year's budget, we still have a tough road ahead of us. By all estimates the City's budget gap could reach $5 billion by 2011, and we will have to fight just as hard (if not harder) to help keep the dream of a college education within reach of all New Yorkers.

To that end, I would like to invite you to sign up for Council "Enews." These issue-based e-mail updates will be an important way for us to stay connected and engaged with you and other New Yorkers about the budget, Council hearings and events, and other important issues affecting our City.

To sign up, please log on to and click on the "Sign-Up for Email Updates" link at the top of our website.

Thanks again for helping us win this important victory. Your strong support for CUNY and its students truly made a difference!

Christine C. Quinn

Metropolitan Museum of Art College Group

The following is a great opportunity for Hunter students, especially those interested in fine arts. It looks great on a resume.

Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:06:04 AM
Subject: "Day-cation" at The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Unwind with the College Group at the Met
1:00–5:00 p.m.
Get green and visit Fort Tryon Park on Saturday, August 1, for student-run tours at The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's branch devoted to medieval art. Picnic in the park (BYOPicnic! No food allowed on Museum grounds), stick around for the tours, and enjoy a summer day in a northern Manhattan oasis.

You'll also have a chance to be the FIRST to pick up an application to become a part of the 2009–2010 College Group at the Met committee. CGM representatives will be around all day to answer any questions about the program and even listen to your event suggestions.

See you then!

NOW Hails Reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
NOW Hails Reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
July 21, 2009

The National Organization for Women welcomes the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment and the renewal of a national dialogue regarding women's equality. We applaud Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for her dedication and commitment in working tirelessly to help women achieve constitutional equality.

Throughout the history of this country, women have faced systematic and purposeful discrimination. Women were conspicuously absent from the U.S. Constitution when it was drafted more than 200 years ago, and today, women still have no explicit legal guarantee of equal protection. While the 14th Amendment to the Constitution is commonly believed to be a source of protection for women, the amendment was not drafted to ensure legal protection from sex discrimination, and the 14th amendment does not provide women with sufficient legal remedies for sex discrimination. As such, we know the ERA must be ratified to ensure meaningful and lasting equality for all women.

Women have been and continue to be the disadvantaged subjects of a privileged male system. As a result, we face many more hurdles in the fight to attain consistent and non-prejudicial applications of justice in the legal system. The recent appointments of conservative judges throughout federal courts have compounded these difficulties.
We hope that progressive leaders will join NOW to begin in earnest an important dialogue among our elected representatives, legal scholars, women's rights advocates, and the public. This national dialogue should seek to determine the many ways in which an application of an equal rights amendment can resolve sex-based discrimination -- as it is much more than a problem of unequal pay and bias in hiring and promotion. In fact, the broadest possible application of this constitutional amendment is critically important as we go forward.

The National Organization for Women has a long and intimate history with the ERA, having mobilized one of the largest grassroots advocacy campaigns in history in support of ratification during the 1970's and early 1980's. We can and will undertake the same effort as we believe that the time is long overdue for a constitutional guarantee of equality between the sexes. | Press Room | View Online | Subscribe

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shortsighted NYS Dems Give Power & Money Back to Indicted Senator in Backroom Deal

Press Release: Shortsighted Democrats Give Power & Money Back to Indicted Senator in Backroom Deal

Press Release
Contact: Marcia Pappas, President

National Organization for Women-NYS Denounces Shortsighted Democrats
Dems Give Power & Money Back to Indicted Senator in Backroom Deal

ALBANY, NY (07/15/2009) This week, National Organization for Women-NYS learned that Senator Monserrate (the alleged abuser who was indicted for injuring his girlfriend to the tune of twenty facial stitches) was returned to his seat, and rather lucrative stipend, as NYS Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee.

Of this reinstatement NOW-NYS President Marcia Pappas remarked: "Given the fact that Monserrate was indicted for such a heinous crime, one would think the Democratic leadership in NY would be wise enough to withhold such a decision, at least until Monserrate's court appearance is completed."

Pappas said this move was suspicious, especially since Monseratte recently sided with Republicans and his long-time friend Senator Espada to tip the Senate scales to a Republican majority. Pappas continued: "Now suddenly Monserrate is holding hands and singing Kumbaya with the Democrats again. Could it be that the Democrats, in exchange for Monserrate's loyalty, promised the biggest carrot of all; his job and money?"

All appearances would indicate that this back-room deal was negotiated on the backs of NY women. Women are angry and several from the NYS Legislature called the NOW office to say they are working in a mine field and that their work environment has become increasingly hostile.

Pappas concluded: "The NYS Democratic leadership, in its infinite but short-sighted wisdom, has not only slapped the face of every woman in NY and in the NYS Legislature, but they have basically said 'Your safety does not matter.' I wonder how those same women will feel come Election Day?"


Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Action Alert: Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act & Single Payer Health Care

NOW logo

From: the NOW National Action Center

We know that NOW leaders and supporters across this country have been working hard for many years to pass two important pieces of legislation. This week we have a chance to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and to raise our collective voices in support of Single Payer Health Care legislation. Please make these calls today.

Urgent: Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act

We need your help NOW more than ever to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). Senator Leahy to offered the HCPA as an amendment to S. 1391, the FY 2010 Department of Defense Authorization bill today. Remember, the U.S. House passed this critical legislation and now we have to fight for passage in the U.S. Senate.

NOW is the time for action to help secure Senate approval.

Call today! Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Urgent: Single Payer on the Table in Energy and Commerce on Thursday

This Thursday, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) will introduce, in the Energy and Commerce Committee, an amendment that abolishes private insurance and creates a national single-payer system that would cover everyone. This amendment would substitute Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) single-payer bill, HR 676, for the current Tri-Committee Health Reform Bill.

Call your U.S. House member and ask him or her to support Rep. Weiner's single payer amendment. The Congressional Switchboard can be reached, toll free at 800-473-6711.


HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to everyone residing in the U.S.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In the current Congress, HR 676 has 85 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers . Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced SB 703, a single payer bill in the Senate.

Please make calls today on these important bills! | All NOW Actions | NOW Leaders Internal Site | Support NOW's work

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Media Action Alert: Tell Daily News to stop sexist cartoons

NOW-NYS Demands that NY Daily News Respect Senator Gillibrand.Sexist Cartoon Unacceptable. Speak Up! Speak Out Against Sexist Advertising. Women Deserve Better.

National Organization for Women-NYS Tells NY Daily News To Respect Senator Gillibrand
Statement by Marcia Pappas, President of NOW-NYS

NOW-New York State denounces New York Daily News Cartoonist Bill Bramhall for his inappropriate and sexist cartoon depicting Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as a loud mouth in need of gagging. It looks like the Daily News has a new target for their misogynistic garbage. So what is the message, "Sit down and shut up girls"?

And exactly what is Bill Bramhall's gripe? Could it be that the Senator speaks her mind, is a strong advocate for the people of New York, and has aspirations for her career? Possibly it's all of the above.

But the cruel reality is that strong women have an uphill battle, simply because many cartoonists, comedians, and average guys just can't handle women who reach for what is rightfully theirs --- equality! Some men look at women like Senator Gillibrand as a threat to their masculinity, their careers, and their power bases. But our Senator is in good company, what with her predecessor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and a host of other women politicians having endured similar treatment.

Of course, some men are part of the cure instead of part of the problem. In a October 16, 2006 New York Times article, Bob Herbert wrote: "A girl or woman is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so in the U.S. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count. We're all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society's casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels --- objects --- and never, ever as the equals of men."

Bramhall's phallic symbols send a clear message that women are good for only one thing. And the disrespectful cartoon certainly touches on concerns feminists have had for centuries. What contributes to violence against women is the general attitude about women in general.

Indeed, we of NOW-NYS is pleased with Senator Gillibrand's standing up and speaking truth to power. We demand that the Daily News show respect for our Senator. And know that our Senator won't sit down, and won't shut up, and won't stand still for the old boys club.

The cartoon can be viewed below or at
Contact the NY Daily News and express your outrage.
The email address for letters to the editor is, or fax to 212-210-1505

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

GOOD NEWS: NY Governor Signs Legislation Protecting Domestic Violence Victims

Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Johnson Usher in Legislation that will Protect Victims of Domestic Violence. Governor Signs Legislation Into Law.

Thank Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Craig Johnson
for Protecting the Rights of Domestic Violence Victims

The National Organization for Women-New York State thanks NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Craig Johnson for their leadership in passing crucial legislation for victims of domestic violence. Legislation A.755-A/S.958-B has passed both the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate. The Governor has signed it into law. This law prohibits an employer or licensing agency, because of the actual or perceived status of an individual as a victim of domestic violence or stalking, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment an individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment CONTACT INFORMATON: Assembywoman Paulin's office: Email: District Office: P: 914-723-1115 Albany Office: P:518-455-5585 Senator Johnson's office: Email District Office: P: (516) 746-5923. Albany Office: P: (518) 455-2622

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Action Alert: Tell Congress, 'Support Single-Payer Health Care!'

NOW Action Alert

Support NOW's Work |
July 14, 2009
| Tell a Friend

Action Needed
All NOW Actions
Can We Cure the Ailing U.S. Health Care System?

Tell Congress, 'Support Single-Payer Health Care!'
On Wednesday, July 15, or thereabout, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is expected to offer an amendment to health care reform legislation that would permit states to establish their own single-payer (Medicare for all) type health care plans. In the Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is expected soon to introduce a similar amendment during mark-up session of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
After taking action, please support our work!
Action Needed:
NOW activists should contact their Congress members, particularly those who are Democrats, and ask them to support this amendment. You can use our formatted message below or craft one of your own. But please do this right away!
Take action NOW!
As Congress moves forward with reform of our costly and dysfunctional health care system, it looks increasingly less likely that a single-payer plan (like the Canadian system) has a chance. The health insurance industry and other large corporate health care providers are heavily lobbying Congress to preserve the current system, with a few reforms that will allow them to continue doing business. One ray of hope, though, is that we can advance the opportunity for those states -- like California -- who want to adopt this most efficient and affordable approach to universal health care.
NOW passed a resolution in support of a national single-payer plan in 1993. Under a single-payer system, there would be government funding and administration, with private delivery of services. Patients could choose their providers, and doctors could determine treatments without first having to get permission from insurers, as currently is the case in our mostly private, for-profit system. Individuals would pay for their health care through payroll contributions -- just like they currently do with their Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions. No one would be denied care, no exclusions based on pre-existing conditions would be allowed, and women could not be charged higher rates because they use the system more for maternity and preventive care -- as happens currently in the private individual market.
A handful of states -- California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and others -- may be ready to seriously consider state legislation that would establish just such plans. California has already passed two separate single-payer bills, but Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed both. Advocates promise that they will pass another single-payer bill once the governor leaves office.
Take action NOW!
Rep. Kucinich wants to make sure that states can adopt their own single-payer plans. His amendment indicates that the single-payer system would "provide comprehensive health benefits to all residents of the State using progressive financing and provides measures to assure free choice of providers for covered services, to promote quality..." Private insurers would not be able to offer insurance duplicating benefits provided under the state single-payer plan, and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) would have to be non-profit entities. Sen. Sanders' amendment, reportedly, is similar to the House amendment, which currently has 65 supporters. Support in the Senate is uncertain, but earlier this year 37 senators signed a statement supporting a "public plan option."
It is difficult to predict exactly when these amendments will come up in committee, but please send your messages now urging your Congress members, especially the Democratic members of the House and Senate, to vote for these amendments and let their colleagues know of their support.
More Information:
Can We Cure the Ailing Health Care System?, NOW President Kim Gandy's Below the Belt column
The Time for Single-Payer, Universal Health Care Coverage is Now!, Statement by NOW Vice President Executive Olga Vives
Single-payer resources and facts, Physicians for a National Health Plan

take action
and then

Action Alert: Help Pass National hate crimes legislation now!


Thank You

On the one-year anniversary of Luis Ramirez's death, the families of hate crime victims ask you to join their call for justice.

On July 14, 2008, Luis Ramirez died after a group of teenagers hurled racial epithets and brutally beat him in Shenandoah, PA, ending with a fatal kick to his head. The Luis Ramirez family would like to thank you for your support and actions you've taken to seek justice for this loving father, son, partner, friend, and hard-worker. His family continues to deeply suffer their loss.

Exacerbating the Ramirez family's anguish is the miscarriage of justice in Luis' case. Despite the evidence of a hate-driven attack, two of the assailants accused of beating Luis were found not guilty of murder, ethnic intimidation and other serious crimes, and were sentenced to only six months in prison for simple assault. Luis is not the only victim and will not be the last, unless we all continue to take action.

Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will begin debate on the hate crimes legislation aimed at strengthening federal laws protecting against hate-motivated crimes. The Ramirez family requests that, in commemoration of Luis Ramirez, you contact your Senator to demand that they vote "yes" on the Mathew Sheppard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.


The wave of hate crimes against Latinos includes young and old, citizens and non-citizens, women and men, and a spectrum of national origins - the victims are selected on only one basis - their Latino appearance. Do not wait to take action until the next victim is your brother, aunt, father, abuelita, or other relative or friend- the time to act is now!


Why the urgency? Hate-driven crimes against Latinos have risen 40% across the country since 2003.
  • One year ago, 17-year-old Robert Cantu was attacked with a noose wrapped around his neck by a group of teenagers in Ohio who said they were "going fishing" for "n******". Robert lives in Ohio, is a U.S. citizen, and is Mexican-American.
  • Last November, 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero was ferociously beaten and fatally stabbed in Long Island, New York by a group of teenagers who claimed they were going "beaner jumping." Marcelo lived in New York and was Ecuadorian.
  • Only one month later, we mourned the murder of Jose Osvaldo Sucuzhañay, whose life was violently taken by a group of people whose crime was motivated by hate-filled bigotry. Jose was a businessman of Ecuadorian decent with established roots in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Recently, two Chilean college students were shot to death in Miramar Beach, Florida, where they worked as part of an international foreign exchange program. The killer had reportedly told a neighbor to get "ready for the revolution to begin" and to get rid of "any immigrants inside [her] house."
  • On the morning of this past 4th of July, Maria Guadarrama, a 45-year old woman of Orange County, CA was stabbed and robbed by two men with swastika tattoos who yelled racial epithets during the attack.
How many more deaths and victims does the Senate need to pass this critical, common-sense legislation? This is a national epidemic whose growth is spurred each day by hate speech, distortion of facts, and anti-immigrant sentiment expressed through the media and irresponsible politicians.


Please join the Ramirez, Sucuzhanay, Lucero, and Cantu families in calling upon the Senate to pass national hate crimes legislation now!


Gladys Limón
Staff Attorney

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Action Alert: Help Make LGBTQ bias violence hate crimes

Senate to vote on hate crimes legislation
as soon as this Thursday
please make the call now!

We are merely steps from the finish line. Federal hate crimes legislation, as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, may be up for vote in the Senate as soon as this Thursday but we need your voice now to make sure we win. Call your senators right now by filling out the form and urge them to pass comprehensive federal hate crimes legislation.

Thank you for taking action with the Task Force.

f you haven't yet, you can also:

* Help us spread the word about the congressional vote on hate crimes legislation.
* Consider making a small contribution to the Task Force Action Fund to help fund this and other campaigns for the LGBT community.

Thanks again for your commitment and generosity!

2009 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

Posted by,
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Good News: Anti-choice amendments FAIL in senate committee

I know a feminist's work is never done, but once in a while, we should stop to celebrate our victories.

Published on (

Anti-Choice Amendments Fail in Senate HELP Committee
By Emily Douglas
Created Jul 13 2009 - 4:18pm

Chalk up a second win for women's health on the road to health care reform: today, the Senate HELP Committee defeated a handful of anti-choice amendments to the Affordable Health Choices Act, its version of health care reform legislation (the first win, remember, was passage of a Sen. Barbara Mikulski-sponsored amendment to increase access to basic preventive care for women, including cancer screenings and contraceptives, and prohibit the practice of gender-rating among insurers).

Senators Hatch (R-UT), Ensign (R-NV) and Coburn (R-OK) were behind the anti-choice amendments, which were intended to hamper women's access to comprehensive health care in any number of ways. They would have prohibited any public funding of abortion including through private plans made available through a health insurance exchange; would have expanded provider refusal clauses (we've been through that fight before [1]); and would have pre-emptively stated that the bill, if passed in final form, would not supercede existing state laws, such as parental notification statutes, restricting access to abortion care.

Each amendment failed along a nearly-straight party line vote, with Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania the only Democrat to vote for the amendments.

This may not be the last we see of amendments like these, however -- the Senate Finance Committee will soon mark up its own version of health care reform, and the tri-Committee House bill is another avenue through which anti-choice amendments could be trotted out.

Posted by,
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Pro-Life leader questions need for diversity

Please watch the following video, which features incoming NOW President Terry, along with Elisabeth Crum, who was on the Young Feminist Task Force workshop with me at the NOW National Conference in Indiana.

I am so glad Operation Rescue's leader questions the need for diversity in Supreme Court. This just proves how ridiculous that Pro-Life group's argument is. He is clearly racist, as many of those people are.

Posted by,
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Action Alert: Help Pass the Women's Equality Amendment

Join NOW with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as she Reintroduces the Women's Equality Amendment. Take Action! Send an Email to Congress and President Obama to say "YES" to Women's Equality.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to Reintroduce Women's Equality Amendment on Capitol Hill
Tell Congress and President Obama and Congess that it's time!

Did you know that women are not represented in the U.S. Constitution?
Join NOW and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
as she proudly introduces the
Tuesday, July 21st, at 10 a.m.
House Triangle
(on the Capitol side of Independence Avenue across from the Rayburn building).
Show your support for putting women's rights in the U.S. Constitution.
We need as many organizations and individuals as possible to join the Congresswoman on Tuesday to demonstrate the breadth and intensity of our commitment to equal rights.
Please bring signs from your state, your home town, or your organization.
Invite friends and family.
Include your staff and summer interns.
Come watch history being made.
Lend your voice to the fight for women's rights!
Call of email Congresswoman Maloney and thank her for her leadership:
Washington Office: 202.225.7944 phone,
Manhattan Office: 212-860-0606 phone

Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good News: Your voices have been heard!

Your voices have been heard! This morning, the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor HHS) eliminated traditional sources of funding for abstinence-only programs by passing the appropriations bill for FY 2010.
The Labor HHS subcommittee and the Obama Administration has recognized what we already knew: abstinence-only sex education programs do not work. The evidence is irrefutable that spending for abstinence-only education is not only wasteful, but also the programs put young women's health at risk. A 2004 study by the House Committee on Government Reform, conducted at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-30-CA) found that over 80% of the curricula used in the largest federally funded abstinence-only programs contained "false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health."
In addition to pulling the plug on funding for failed abstinence-only sex education programs, the bill eliminates a ban on syringe exchange programs, which have been proven to be a highly effective strategy for preventing HIV.
The subcommittee's approval of this bill is terrific news, but our work is not complete. The bill will now face a vote in the House Appropriations Committee and in the full House of Representatives. Thank you for speaking out!
For Equality,
Norma Gattsek
Government Relations Director

P.S. We will keep you up-to-date on future votes on this bill.
Posted by:
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)